NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Smoking, Hypertension, and Diabetes May Increase the Risk of Dementia

September 30th, 2009

Middle-aged men and women who smoke or have hypertension or diabetes run a higher risk of being hospitalized with dementia later in life, based on data from more than 11,000 participants in the population-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

The ARIC cohort includes men and women 45 to 64 years of age who were recruited from four U.S. communities. This study focused on 11,151 white and African-American participants who had undergone a cognitive assessment between 1990 and 1992. A total of 203 episodes of first hospitalization for dementia up to December 2004 were determined through ARIC follow-up; demographic information as well as specific information about participants’ weight and whether they had hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or diabetes was obtained from existing study records. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

In the regression analyses, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes were strongly associated with dementia in both white and African-American participants. These associations were stronger among participants who were younger than 60 years of age at baseline (i.e., who smoked or had hypertension or diabetes when they were younger than 60 years of age).

According to the authors, the study results emphasize the importance of early lifestyle modification and risk factor treatment to prevent dementia.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2009 Aug 19. [Epub ahead of print]
Author: Cynthia Knapp Dlugosz, BPharm
Date: September, 2009